Quality of Services

Quality of Services in Europe

Policy on quality of services in relation to the E.U. Services Directive

The following is an examination of policy on quality of services regarding the European Union Servicies Directive [1]:

Policy on quality of services: Quality of Services

Article 26 provides for a framework for voluntary quality-enhancing measures which will have to be encouraged by Member States in cooperation with the Commission.

There are different methods of fostering the quality of services and transparency for recipients. It is clear that the suitability and effectiveness of these methods will depend on the specific area and type of services. Article 26 refers in particular to certification or assessment of service providers' activities by independent or accredited bodies, development of quality charters or labels by professional bodies as well as to voluntary European standards. There are different means for Member States to encourage such measures, such as awareness campaigns, organisation of workshops and conferences, funding of programmes and projects, etc. The Commission will use its best efforts to support such measures and to spread best practice among Member States.

In order to make it easier for consumers to compare the different features of service activities in different Member States, Article 26(2) requires Member States to ensure that information on the significance and the criteria for the application of labels and quality marks can be easily accessed by providers and recipients. Member States can consider, for example, to create a website with information on labels or to require professional bodies or other associations to provide such information about the labels used by their members. Professional associations whose members use a common label should also make sure that they are used correctly and do not mislead recipients of services.

Finally, consumer associations and independent bodies dealing with assessment and testing of services should be encouraged to provide more comparative information about the quality of services available in different Member States. Again, this can be achieved by awareness campaigns, workshops and conferences, or the funding of programmes and projects by Member States with the support of the Commission.

Quality of Services in relation to the E.U. Services Directive

The following is an examination of quality of services regarding the European Union Servicies Directive [1]:

Quality of Services: Quality of Services

Chapter V (Articles 22 to 27) of the Directive, together with Article 37 on codes of conduct at Community level, lays down a set of measures to foster the high quality of services and to enhance information and transparency relating to service providers and their services. The development of a policy on quality of services is vital for the proper functioning of the Internal Market and the competitiveness of the European services economy. Quality-enhancing measures will benefit recipients of services, especially consumers. In particular, enhanced information and transparency will enable consumers to make better informed choices, especially as regards services of providers established in other Member States. Increased transparency will also contribute to creating a level playing field between service providers from different Member States.

Chapter V sets out a number of binding obligations for service providers, on the one hand, and encourages certain voluntary measures on the other. Thus, implementation by Member States of this chapter of the Directive will require a combination of actions.

First, legislation will be needed to ensure service providers' compliance with certain obligations, such as the requirement, contained in Articles 22 and 27, to make information available or the obligation to rapidly respond to complaints and to use best efforts to settle disputes as set out in Article 27. In the area of professional liability and guarantees, Member States may also consider imposing requirements on service providers established in their territory although this is, pursuant to Article 23, non mandatory for Member States.

Second, Member States will have to review and adapt, if necessary, their legislation in order to avoid duplication of insurance obligations (as required in Article 23(2)), in order to remove all total prohibitions on commercial communications by the regulated professions and restrictions regarding multidisciplinary activities (as required in Articles 24 and 25 respectively), or in order to recognise financial guarantees (as required in Article 27). When relevant, Member States will have to ensure that not only legislation but also the rules of professional bodies and other professional associations or organisations within the meaning of Article 4(7) are adapted. As regards restrictions on multidisciplinary activities, Member States will not only have to review and adapt their legislation but will also have to provide a report under the mutual evaluation process envisaged in the Directive149.

Finally, Member States will have to take some active steps to encourage providers to put in place voluntary quality-enhancing measures. The Services Directive leaves it up to Member States to decide the concrete measures to take to encourage such efforts. Possible measures could include, for example, organising awareness campaigns, promotion of quality labels, codes of conduct and voluntary standards, establishing programmes including the provision of funding, the organisation of workshops and conferences, etc. Articles 26 and 37 already indicate a number of actions that Member States can develop in cooperation with the Commission and, in most cases, together with representatives of service providers (professional bodies, chambers of commerce, etc.) and consumer associations. These provisions should become the basis for a long-term policy on quality of services to be developed at European level by Member States and the Commission.

Quality of Services in relation to the E.U. Services Directive

The following reviews some of the entries in this European legal encyclopedia about quality of services regarding the European Union Servicies Directive:

  • Information on providers and their services
  • Professional liability insurance and guarantees
  • Commercial communications by the regulated professions
  • Multidisciplinary activities
  • Policy on quality of services
  • Settlement of disputes
  • Codes of conduct

Resources

Notes

  1. Information on quality of services based on the EU Services Directive Handbook, UK Government

See Also

Resources

Notes

  1. Information on policy on quality of services based on the EU Services Directive Handbook, UK Government

See Also

Leave a Comment